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When We First Met – The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

by  in Comic News Comment

In this feature we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ’em out!

Last year I did this as a three-parter, but with the success of the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, I thought it made sense to reprint this baby, only as a single post (over three pages). In this installment, we’ll look at the introductions of all the major agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. over the past fifty years!

First off, a big chunk of the notable S.H.I.E.L.D. agents all debuted in the same issue, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandoes #1. This issue gave us Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones and more…



Secondly, Sharon Carter, Tony Stark, Norman Osborn and Steve Rogers’ first appearances won’t be detailed here. They’re either too famous or too tied in with other character’s continuity to show up here.

It is kind of funny how there were basically three Directors of SHIELD for the first thirty years of the Marvel Universe (and one of them, Fury’s predecessor, was never really shown) but since the 1990s, there have been about 312. Give or take a few.

One of the first new Directors of SHIELD was G.W. Bridge, an old friend of Cable who was now hunting X-Force down in X-Force #1…



Maria Hill is probably the most prominent of the non-Nick Fury Directors (at least as far as “prominently known as a SHIELD agent, unlike Iron Man, Cap, etc.). She was originally supposed to debut at the end of Brian Michael Bendis’ mini-series Secret War, but delays changed it so that Bendis had to introduce her before that series ended. So she made her bow in New Avengers #4…



Finally, one of the odder “Directors” of SHIELD, Daisy “Quake” Johnson never really seemed to get much traction as the Director of SHIELD. I think it just sort of seemed odd to other writers, particularly when Maria Hill was available to use. This is not to knock Daisy as a character, as she’s neat, she just seemed odd as a DIRECTOR of SHIELD.

She first debuted in the second issue of the aforementioned Secret War mini-series (that mini-series ended up having a major impact on the Marvel Universe), as the SHIELD agent assigned a group of superhero agents on a mission to Latveria…





On the next page, we’ll look at some notable agents who did not become Director of SHIELD!

Jimmy Woo first showed up in the short-lived 1950s Marvel series, The Yellow Claw (he was present from the first issue as the FBI agent assigned to take down the Yellow Claw).


Jim Steranko later brought him back in Strange Tales #160 in a new Yellow Claw tale…


At the end of it, Woo believes that Fury killed his one true love (the Yellow Claw’s niece). He vows vengeance. Fury explains to him that the woman killed was not really a woman, but an automaton. So Woo joins SHIELD in Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #2…


Jasper Sitwell was the first major addition to SHIELD in the pages of Strange Tales, joining the team in Strange Tales #144…




Steranko added two extremely notable characters when he took over the book, beginning with La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine in Strange Tales #159…


and then Clay Quartermain in Strange Tales #163…


(Later in the issue, Nick realizes that Clay can hold his own)



Along with Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan (and Sharon Carter, to a certain extent) these would be the backbone of SHIELD for the next forty-plus years.

On the next page, we will look at some more recent additions to the world of SHIELD!

Elektra Assassin #2 introduced us to the Wile E. Coyote to Elektra’s Roadrunner, a SHIELD agent named Garrett…




The end of the issue finds Garrett blown up. However, this is SHIELD, so that’s not the end of his story…


#3 sees him back in action, now as a cyborg.


The 1989 Archie Goodwin/Howard Chaykin Wolverine/Nick Fury Graphic Novel the Scorpio Connection introduced Nick Fury’s son, Mikel, who thinks Nick Fury KILLED his dad…





At the end of the story, Fury turns him around…


And eventually Mikel became a valued member of SHIELD.

In Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men, the X-Men are attacked by an alien named Ord. Is it possible that SHIELD has something to do with him? Cyclops goes to Fury in #3, but is rebuffed.


A mysterious woman then appears…


In #6, after the X-Men discover Colossus is really alive, the X-Men capture Ord but SHIELD shows up to say that he has a version of diplomatic immunity. We meet the mysterious Agent Abigail Brand fully here…





Finally, after Fear Itself, we had a mini-series called Battle Scars, whose first issue introduced us to two Army Rangers, Marcus Johnson and his best friend “Cheese”…




Eventually we learn that Marcus is the son of Nick Fury and bad guys want to kill him (or WORSE!). Cheese helps out his friend and in the end (after Marcus loses an eye), both men get offered jobs at SHIELD…




Except to see a lot more of Fury and Coulson now that their respective characters are being featured so prominently in film and in television.